Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Zoe Project: Fake Tans & Train-Wrecks Galore

Rachel Zoe’s new Bravo reality show aired a preview episode last night, and it looks good… like empty-calorie gluttony kind of good. If this half-an-hour segment is any sign, the series is sure to put both Elle’s Stylista and Vogue’s Model.Live to shame. Zoe (far right in photo at left) is an excessively tanned celebrity stylist who famously credited herself as more influential than couture's reigning Ice Queen, Anna Wintour. There is some truth to this, considering her stick-thin, bronzed, Starbucks-toting, boho-chic signature look is now the norm with regard to Hollywood’s young starlets. As you can imagine, the show is jam-packed with drama that’s too good not to be staged. There are tears, a flood (and not in that order), and, of course, the quintessential fashion moment when Zoe – clad in bug-eyed designer sunglasses and a fur shrug that surely cost as much as could feed a small village – tells her aspiring assistant Brad, “it’s clothes. We’re not saving lives.” You can say that again.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Recession Takes Toll on NY Fashion Week, Are We Nearing the End?

No one is explicitly saying it. But the fact that a handful of well-known designers are pulling out of NY Fashion week at the same time that the economy is headed in a seemingly endless downward spiral is a pretty strange coincidence. P. Diddy just announced that there will be no Sean John show this fall (and, yes, unfortunately that means no K Fed sitting front row too). Aussie design-duo Sass & Bide pulled out of NY Fashion Week just a few days ago, claiming they were too busy with production. Meanwhile Band of Outsiders’ Scott Sternberg, who debuted his women’s line, Boy, alongside Band of Outsiders last fall on a boat behind the Chelsea Piers, has opted to produce a look book starring Michelle Williams as opposed to an entire presentation. So, what’s it all mean?

Considering a runway at the main Mercedes Benz-sponsored tents costs designers $100,000 (and that’s not including paying for top models or hair and make-up teams), the option of putting a look book online or holding a significantly more low-key presentation or a trunk show off the Bryan Park path is enough to sway designers both young and old. Besides, as a friend and fashion editor recently put it: “the biggest secret with regard to the fashion industry is that it’s broke!”

With substantive international shows taking place in nearly a dozen cities – from Milan and Paris, to Sydney, Sau Paulo and Stockholm - there’s less of a reason for younger, less financially stable designers to show their collections stateside. Furthermore, fashion shows in general carry less and less importance, considering only an elite few actually get to see the clothes first-hand. Meanwhile, images of the shows are online and at the public’s disposal before all of the guests have cleared their seats. As the distribution of images and information has changed, so has the relevance (or lack thereof) of these increasingly unnecessary presentations.

While NY Fashion Week will surely stick around for countless seasons to come, as long as the economy is stuck in its current stupor there’s no doubt it’ll have a harrowing affect on the shows. But, in the end, maybe it's not such a bad thing. Not only would fewer shows be easier on the environment, it'd save all the poor fashion editors from wearing their heels down running from tent to tent, and from fighting over who gets to sit front row.

Sean John names Dawn Robertson new president [Fashion week Daily]
Sass & Bide Forgo New York Fashion Week in September [Fashion Week Daily]
Look book trends and Coolness [Coutorture]

Monday, August 4, 2008

Italian Vogue Pays Homage to YSL, Rips Off Make Me A Supermodel

It's been a good summer so far for Italian Vogue, which debuted its now infamous “All Black” issue (which really wasn’t that black if you count the overwhelmingly “white” ads, but that’s another story...) last month. It sold out entirely, prompting a reprint. In its subsequent August issue, the rag is at it again with "Silent," a fashion shoot set in a cemetery, conceived in homage to the late designer Yves Saint Laurent who passed away earlier this summer. The spread is classic Italian Vogue: lots of black, a touch of goth, and a generally somber mood (not to mention not a non-white model in sight). But, it caught our eye for a distinctly different reason. Steven Meisel’s 12-page spread seems oddly reminiscent of Make Me A Supermodel’s 10th episode challenge in season 1 - a cemetery shoot with beauty photog Christopher Micaud. Could it be?! Is high fashion so drained of fresh ideas it’s stealing from last season's reality television? It is a well-known fact that magazines recycle editorials as fast as they recycle trends and cover subjects. But, from the rag that brought us the "All Black" issue, I would have expected more. Ironically, when describing the shoot on Make Me a Super Model, Holly says, "this is like Italian Vogue - something you'd see in a high fashion magazine." Guess she was right. While the similarities aren't exact, they're a bit too close for comfort. You be the judge when Italian Vogue and Make Me A Supermodel go testa to testa after the jump.

Silent [Kanye Univeristy]
Alisa Gould-Simon is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn.